How to set goals for your email sequences

How to set goals for your email sequences

Create intentional, thoughtful communication with customers

Guest post by Andrus Purde, Outfunnel, co-founder and CEO

According to Litmus, email marketing has the potential to return up to $42 for every $1 spent.

Though it can be a lucrative channel, it’s also seriously overused. Our inboxes are buzzing and overflowing with marketing messages all day long. To cut through the noise and see real results, your automated drip email strategy has to be well thought out and targeted.

Setting the right goals is a good place to start with your strategy. Goals should be realistic enough to be achievable and ambitious enough to be worth doing. And the truth about email marketing is that it works best if you have some patience and appreciate its role beyond direct revenue generation. More on that later.

Setting goals for email sequences: what to keep in mind

There are two things to keep in mind when setting goals for email sequences.

Email sequences: the why and the when

The why of email sequences is the change in attitude or behavior that you’re after. For example, you may be trying to build trust among people that barely know your name, educate people on your approach and features, or get people that have never heard from you to schedule a demo.

The when of email sequences is also a nuanced topic. Email, while it can be a profitable marketing channel, isn’t always the one that gets you results the quickest. Instant gratification is possible but, usually, you’ll see results over time.

So when setting goals for email marketing, you may want to increase ambitions over time. For example, if your goal is to drive 100 demos per week and you’d want 50 of these to come from your email marketing efforts, you may want to set 0 leads as the goal for this month, 5 for next quarter, 25 for next year, and so on.

Combining the why and the when results in a helpful matrix to illustrate what kind of goals email automation serves well.

Image source: Outfunnel

Employing email sequences works most efficiently when used in accordance with opt-in email best practices. The ineffectiveness of cold email marketing practices coupled with today’s privacy issues have rendered cold emailing mostly obsolete.

The main reasons to send emails to warm leads instead of cold emailing include:

1. Less competition

2. It doesn’t put your company’s digital reputation at risk

3. It feels ethically better not to send emails that people haven’t asked for (aka spam)

Next, let’s take a look at the key steps to setting great goals for your email sequences.

2 steps to great goals for your email sequences

1. Define your audience

The first step is to narrow down the kind of buyers you’re looking to target with your sequences.

  • What are their requirements?
  • What are their goals?
  • What are their needs?

Answer these questions to help you establish buyer personas, ultimately making it easier to set goals for your sequences.

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, then there are a few things you can do. You can send them an email and ask, “what are your biggest challenges today when it comes to [your area of expertise]?” You can also set up user interviews to figure this out.

And if you’re still unable to answer these questions, then you’ll have to put more effort into building a higher-quality email list for whom your expertise will be relevant.

You should be looking at what problems your customers are facing, and where the needs gap is. When you figure that out, you can craft the right content, target consumers, and nurture them further.

Pro tip: Create several targeted, detailed personas, rather than just one general persona that fits all of your contacts (unless your list is very small). This will allow you segment your audiences and send well-targeted email sequences. Segmented email marketing campaigns outperform generic ones on all standard email marketing KPIs.

Image source: SuperOffice

2. Set win-win goals for your sequences

Once you’ve defined your target audiences, you need to decide what change you want to bring about in their behavior or attitudes, i.e. the “why” of your sequences. The why will always depend on your list and their previous relationship with you.

You want your email sequence to take your buyer from where they are currently, point A, to where you want them to be, point B.

The best way to go about tapping into that motivation is to provide some value first. Think, “Give before you get.”

Using the information collected in the first step, figure out what unique value you can provide that matches the specific needs of your target audience.

Then, later in the sequence (ideally the third or fourth email) introduce your pitch, offer a demo call or similar. That’s the step where you define the goal: What’s the “why” of your sequences, i.e. what change are you looking to bring about in your contacts’ attitudes or behaviors?

Here’s a simple example of a 3-part email sequence logic that serves the goal of getting leads to sign up for a demo call:

  • Email 1: Unique useful content that provides value to the contact
  • Email 2: Supporting case studies and social proof of your related product/service
  • Email 3: Call-to-action (CTA) to sign up for a demo

Pro tip: It’s important to be very clear about the precise action that you want your reader to take in each email. It can be tempting to bombard them with all sorts of information — but that actually reduces the likelihood of them moving down the funnel. Identify one specific thing per email that you want them to do, and present that clearly.

Email 1 example: I don’t know what Scribble does but if they’re offering me something useful for free, they have my attention.

A good rule of thumb

When it comes to email marketing content, there’s one good rule of thumb: Offer value more frequently than you ask for value. It’s an 80/20 kind of thing. After all, you’re in business to truly help your customers with their needs; and your customers don’t want to feel like you’re selling them something all the time.

The simplest way to offer value is to educate. Provide new information or a new point of view. Perhaps you have some expertise in the field that you could share via an online course or webinar.

The second way to add value is to give away something of value, either completely for free or with a notable discount. This could be your whole product or service for a limited time or something that’s tangentially related.

Send emails to educate and to give away something useful 80% of the time. And only sometimes send self-serving emails that help you or another team hit some goals.

Measure, rinse, repeat

The thing about automated email sequences is that the work is never done. It is a constant process of re-evaluating and redefining the campaigns.

There are two types of metrics I’d recommend you keep an eye on when it comes to email sequences:

  1. Business metrics like revenue, new demos or new leads generated/nurtured. This is to measure if your sequences have the desired behavior or attitude change you defined, the “why” of your email sequences.
  2. Two key email marketing KPIs: the size of your engaged audience – i.e., how many people have given you permission to send messages; and how many are still opening your emails.

There are various things you can test to try and improve these metrics. For example, switching up content to see what gets more engagement, or testing different subject lines to improve open rates.

Pro tip: Balance is key here. You don’t want to be spending so much time on re-evaluating and reworking your automated emails to the point where you might as well not have automated emails at all. Be mindful of the amount of time you spend.

Pick the right tool for your email sequences

Now that you have a better idea of how to set goals for your email sequences, it’s time to set up your first campaigns.

There are various complex and expensive email automation platforms out there—and you can get everything you want if you’re willing to pay thousands of dollars for it.

As a Copper user, you can use the built-in Email Sequences tool that is 100% in sync with your CRM. It's included in all Business accounts. If you’re not yet on the Business plan and want to learn more, click here to book a demo.

Leave behind scaled image